Delilah Devlin · writing advice

Boost Your Productivity

This is something I wrote a while ago, but I still think is completely valid. It’s time I follow my own advice! 🙂 DD

Boost Your Productivity

I spent the first couple of years of my writing life, writing whenever the mood struck. Once I contracted, however, I had to write to meet a deadline. If you are published, or just want to prepare yourself for the “writer’s life” once you do sell, try some of these suggestions to boost your productivity.

1) Do some pre-work before you begin to write, so you aren’t struggling with what to write. You could plot each chapter, each scene and refer to it as your story bible as you go.
2) Who says you have to start at the beginning and work your way to the end of your story? Try writing the pivotal scenes you already have in your mind first to get you jumpstarted.
3) End your day’s writing in the middle of an exciting scene, rather than at the end.
4) If you’re stuck, try writing the synopsis, then plunking the paragraphs under separate chapter headings to give you a starting point.
5) If you’re still stuck, move onto the next project that’s calling you. Write a few pages, and then go back to your most pressing WIP.
6) Write at the same time every day to get into the habit.
7) Set a daily or weekly page count goal and don’t get out of your chair until you reach it.
8) Establish a daily routine and follow your own personal ritual to get in the mind frame to write.
9) Part of that ritual might be selecting mood music for the scene you are writing. Turn it on and let your fingers fly.
10) Light candles, arrange your “tools” in your space, and then open your programs in the exact order.
11) Select a set of affirmations that speak to you and repeat them like a mantra every day before you begin writing.
12) Do not open email until you’ve reached your page count/hourly goal.
13) Join a critique group that meets on a regular basis so that you have to produce pages on their schedule.
14) Do timed writing activities with a group of writing friends.
15) Try the annual NaNoWriMo challenge in November to produce 50,000 words in one month.
16) Accept a BIAW (Book-in-a-Week) challenge from your local RWA chapter or online chapter and prepare to slam those pages during that week.
17) Try writing with your font colored white so that you aren’t tempted to edit what you can’t see! (when you’re done, just change it to black)
18) If you don’t have to look at the keys while you type, try writing with your eyes closed. Imagine the setting, the scents, and the sounds and describe the scene, then go back and layer in the action and dialogue.
19) Write your draft using an AlphaSmart word processor. The smaller screen isn’t very conducive to editing as you write. After 4 lines, the first scrolls out of sight.
20) Reorganize or declutter your desk to remove distractions.
21) TIVO your favorite TV shows to watch when you have finished writing for the day.
22) Bribe yourself with a present when you reach a big goal.
23) Give yourself little “gifts” when you make your daily page count: play that online game, read your email, watch that TIVO’d show.
24) Going to a hotel by yourself for a couple of days—nothing but you and your writing materials.
25) Encourage your friends to nag you about a daily word count.
26) Post your progress on your blog. There’s nothing like knowing your editor might check in to see how you’re doing!
27) Attend a writing retreat where you meet for morale-boosting, then trek off to a solitary corner to write.
28) If daily life intrudes, take that AlphaSmart or a pad of paper to your child’s ballet lesson, soccer practice, or to your dentist or doctor appointment. 15 Minutes here and there can really add up.
29) Keep a pad of paper or a tape recorder beside your bed for those scenes or snippets of dialogue that come to you just when you’re drifting off to sleep.
30) Keep a tape recorder in your purse so that you can dictate dialogue while you’re on your daily commute to work.
31) Take care of yourself. Get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods, and get some exercise. You can’t expect to create when you aren’t feeling well!

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